Whatever it is, if it involves David Ian, I'm interested, and Dave joins singer Peter Furler for an unusual but quite appetizing holiday disc in Christmas. He also produced and co-arranged the outing with Furler, so what more need I say? Plenty. And I will. Furler's vocal ruminations upon classic songs well known to all are going to raise a few eyebrows, as just the first cut, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, demonstrates. Furler, well known in Australia through sales of seven million albums and a Grammy nomination, amplifies the laconic elements in his year-end holiday's works as though coming from a sidestream of Nightmare Before Christmas. I ain'tjoking, and that's what first nailed my ears to the speakers in a much solemner occasion than the oft humorous film's oeuvre but quite in synch with the flick's character and atmospherics. In that glorious film, were I forced to choose one song typifying the vibe and sonics here, it'd be Sally's Song.
Then there's the eerie but beautiful O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, stately while seemingly issuing from Edgar Allan Poe's humble abode, it sticks in the mind and extends far beyond the observation of the vernal equinox to stand as a short exercise in pure art. He does the same with O Come All Ye Faithful, my favorite cut. Throughout, Ian is the second 'voice', his piano comping Furler every step of the way among a well chosen set of accompanists and heavenly background singers. I'm at odd ends to compare Pete's voice with anyone, as it's not a common one but, again, the shades of Nightmare Before Christmas draw near and the guy could easily have been a plaintive character in the dazzlingly strange animated outing. Two cuts are even short spoken dramas upon liturgical extracts with chamber music backings, kinda like the Patrick Stewart spots in Nightmare, interludes in the string of songs. Little Drummer Boy even comes close to the Charlie Brown Christmas milieu, Ian talking a Guaraldi-esque position, but, regardless, words will not quite describe this unusual gig, and I now place it with some of my offbeat faves by The Ghsotly Trio and others.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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